Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

ALEXANDER  VON  HUMBOUDT.                225
much as fishes and crahs. The Indians found the
traces of three tigers in the sand, of which two seemed
to have been very young; Hiimboldt supposed that it
was a female tiger who had brought her young to
For want of trees the oars were fastened in the
ground, and the hammocks swung to them. All was
quiet until eleven o'clock in the night, hut then such
a fearful noise arose in the neighbouring wood that
sleep was impossible. Of the number of voices of
wild animals which sounded at the same time, the
Indians, who were wri^h. Humboldt, distinguished only
those separately audible, such as the low flute-like
tones of the sapajo, the sighs of the alonates, the
scream of the tiger, the conguar, the muskrat, the
sloth, the hocco, the parragua, and some other fowls,
As soon as the jaguars approached the boundaries of
the forest, Humboldfs dog howled and crept beneath
the hammocks. Sometimes, after a long pause, the
tiger's voice was heard from the trees, followed by the
sharp continuous scream, of the monkeys escaping
from the danger.
The security which the Indians seemed to feel
inspired Humboldt and his friend Bonpland with
courage. They listened to the accounts how all tigers
dread fire, and never attack a man lying on his ham-
mock, and the case is indeed very rare. The noise
-which the animals make, seems* to arise from a quarrel
among* them. The jaguars pursue the pekaris and
tapirs, who fly in crowded herds. The monkeys,
startled by the noise, respond to the cry from their
trees, and thus the inhabitants of the forest are
awakened one after the other, and the whole mena-
gerie is in an uproar.
The next morning (April 2nd) Htimboldt went on
board his ship again, the river being crowded Tby
quantities of porpoises. At noon the travellers halted
in a desolate spot. Humboldt relates :" While the
boat was dragged ashore, I had separated from the
company., and was walking along the banks to watch